Possibility of Food and Bev Tax Riles Some Restaurant Owners

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Bloomington restaurateurs have begun to discuss implications of state law allowing the Monroe County Council to impose a 1% food and beverage tax.

The tax, if levied, will be used to expand Monroe County’s convention center. Convention Center Director Talisha Coppock, says the $1.7 million she expects to be raised by the tax is the only way expansion can happen.

“At this point in time, the innkeeper’s tax just isn’t strong enough to do it on its own,” Coppock said. “There’s really no other significant source that’s available.”

Dunn Inn owner Riley O’Callaghan, who recently moved back to Indiana from California, says though he isn’t sure he’ll support the tax, he thinks Coppock’s assertion it’s the only way to fund convention center expansion may be correct.

“Everything really runs through the state and that’s some of my own frustration of us not being able locally to say, ok we’ll reject this but come up with a different answer that would allow us to maybe create a special sales tax district where all retail outlets would feed into this somewhat,” O’Callaghan said. “But we can’t do this without running it through the state. Our laws aren’t set up that way.”

Four other counties in the state currently use a food and beverage tax to pay for their convention centers.

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